By JT Abrams, EEW Magazine Contributor
Many in the body of Christ are whispering about, criticizing, and questioning what took place in the home of James Fortune and wife Cheryl back in 2001 that led to the permanent disfigurement of his then 4-year-old stepson. But others are doing what we all should be doing, praying.
“I am tired of singing about power, unity, and prayer… and not exercising it! I’m not close to the Fortune fam… but I’m on the wall,” tweeted recording artist Darwin Hobbs, known as the “Luther Vandross” of gospel, when news of the story broke two days ago. His message on the social networking site revealed his frustration with perpetuating the gospel message of togetherness, empowerment through the Holy Spirit, and intercession, but then, not being spiritually-minded in times of crisis involving others who need our prayers.
Though the gospel community has been largely silent about the gruesome scalding of the young victim in a tub full of piping hot water at the hands of James Fortune—the industry is known for sticking together and protecting its own—Darwin Hobbs isn’t shy about openly making his thoughts and convictions clear.
“God himself has given me a huge passion to stand with this family via prayer and intercession! And I got some huge praying homies!” Hobbs wrote, also noting that he is not biased in favor of James Fortune simply because he feels called to pray. “I called for prayer for Zimmerman and Sandusky,” he clarified.
George Zimmerman is currently locked up pending a trial for second-degree murder after shooting and killing innocent black teen, Trayvon Martin.
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky faces life in prison following his conviction late Friday of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years.
“Again, prayer is prayer…we all need it!” Hobbs stated emphatically, answering the opposition of some of his critics on Twitter who mistook his call for prayer as condoning James Fortune’s heinous act. According to Darwin Hobbs, everyone is worthy of prayer: “Victims, perpetrators, criminals, activists, advocates, whoever!”
As a survivor of sexual abuse, Hobbs is arguably more qualified to speak about praying for perpetrators of crimes than most others. The gifted singer told Christianity Today about his traumatic childhood. "At the age of 11, I was sexually violated by my stepfather, whom my mother met after divorcing from her first husband. It changed the landscape of my life. This guy was my mother's knight in shining armor, but he was my worst nightmare," he revealed.
Hobbs’ pedophile stepdad was a churchgoing man, which posed a huge contradiction for the young abused boy. In an interview with Cross Rhythms UK, the abuse survivor said, "It didn't matter that I was a Christian. It didn't matter that I'd go into the doors of the church every Sunday. I didn't have an outlet to share, especially in church. We don't tend to talk about these kinds of things in churches. It's oftentimes taboo to discuss issues such as this. One of the reasons that I know God allowed me to share my story is to break the silence. There's such a gag order as it relates to people sharing their past and sharing their issues and their wounds. I feel that it's time that the silence is broken, so that people can pursue freedom and pursue wholeness and realness. Enough is enough."
With all Darwin Hobbs went through as a child, it is remarkable that he would empathize with James Fortune and request prayer on his behalf.
Do you find it hard to pray for those who have committed egregious acts against others?